A weapon of war, a tool for peace

This game has brought up a lot of speculation about the future of war and peace. Would being able to know what someone else is feeling create peace, or war?

FeelThat technology, like all technology, is agnostic. It is neither good or bad. The FeelThis network can both be a weapon of war and a tool for peace, it all depends on what we choose to do with it.

On the one hand, as Beth Lee notes, increasing empathy towards a soldier’s experience in war might lower our appetite to support war, making it hard for governments to send soldiers abroad in war.

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It’s also possible that, as Nicola Henning suggests, FeelThat would make it easier to prevent bad actors from committing crime or acts of war preemptively if we develop a capacity to understand the emotional trajectory someone goes through while planning an attack. Predictive policing initiatives are already experimenting with this new human capability, to much controversy around privacy, liberty, and accuracy.

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On the other hand, FeelThat could be a weapon of war. As Gina A mentioned it may become a tool for more effective propaganda by terrorist groups, growing their support networks and enticing more fighters to join their cause.

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And the mere existence of FeelThat could be so controversial that it divides our society into two camps, as veheliha suggests, with people wanting it destroyed fighting on one side against those who want to keep it.

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One thing is for sure however, the way we engage in war will change with the advent of FeelThat. This technology would have the power to transition modern warfare from the decentralized guerrilla wars and cyber wars of today to emotional hacking and mental torture of the future. This may limit physical casualties and cyber attacks shifting to a quieter, less obvious emotional warfare. The long-term impacts of this sort of transition would be near impossible to predict. What if you wipe out an entire nation with sever PTSD?

We’d might also enter an entirely new era in human history, possibly uncovering the true motivations behind war. A well known theory within the conflict resolution field is that conflict is caused by creed (identity), greed (hunt for excess land and wealth), and need. And the intersection between all three make it exceptionally complex to tease apart a conflict and find resolution. But in a FeelThat world we would create an entirely new chapter in the human experience as we’d build quantifiable and objective information explaining the emotions and true motivations behind individual and collective perpetrators. Once we know exactly why people enter into war, does that mean we can guide them into a different direction?